I tend to start thinking about composting – changes to my system, etc. – in the Spring: that’s when I’m planning my planting for the year, and trying to take fertilization into account. But when I stop to think about it, Fall is really the ideal time for planning ahead on composting: you’ve likely got (or, at least, have access to) lots and lots of brown material in the form of fallen leaves, and since you may not be yet planning for the next year’s planting, you can start thinking about next year’s fertilization. Compost, no matter how you create, requires time, so now’s a good time to get thinking about a new compost bin (if you’ve got your eye on one).
Sure, you could just create a pile, especially if you’ve got lots of space available… but, no doubt, the local fauna will help itself to the pickings from your heap before it reaches compost status. A bin creates protection from critters, and can also help create a better environment (especially in cooler months, when it can soak up heat from the sun). Once you decide you want those benefits, the next step involves deciding what kind of bin you want.
Adrian Higgins of the Washington Post has some help available on that front: he published quick overviews of the main kinds of compost bins – from store-bought to DIY – and runs down the pros and cons of each. This will be really helpful for those of you looking to take a “step up” in your composting efforts, whether that means expanding your efforts, better protecting them from animals and weather (both of which can, to some degree, help you compost along), or just consolidating that pile/heap into something more manageable (and probably more attractive).
Don’t forget that all of the options Higgins mentions have do-it-yourself plans out there – we’ve run a lot of them down over the years. See something you can’t believe Higgins missed in his article? Rant away… or just let us know the best ways you’ve found to turn yard waste and food scraps into organic fertilizer.
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